Zucchini Muffins

zucchini muffins

It is the hottest month of the year and our garden is flourishing. We have a glut of zucchinis at the moment. I have been making zucchini loaves and bakes, using them in stir-fries and salads, and making muffins. These muffins are good for putting in the freezer and taking out one or two at a time for lunches.

zucchinis

Ingredients:

1 egg
1 cup milk or dairy-free alternative (I used oat milk)
¼ cup oil
2 cups wholemeal flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 medium unpeeled zucchini
100g grated cheese or dairy-free alternative
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (I used parsley and garlic chives)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

To Make:

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Whisk the egg and milk together, then stir in the oil. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir to combine. Grate the zucchini, squeeze out excess moisture, and add to the mixture. Add the cheese, onion, and herbs and mix to combine. Spoon into lightly oiled, 12-hole muffin tin. Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds. Bake for 35-40 minutes, covering tops after 30 minutes if they start to burn.

zucchini muffins

Mini Pumpkin Quiches

mini pumpkin quiches

This is a great recipe for using up leftover pumpkin. The little quiches, made in muffin pans, are a good finger food for parties, with Halloween just around the corner, or, as the days are getting warmer here in New Zealand, they are nice for taking on picnics.

Pastry

150 g wholemeal flour
150 g plain flour
150 g butter or dairy-free spread (I use Olivani)
cold water to mix

Sift the flours into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add cold water a little at a time and mix until the dough forms a ball. Chill the pastry for half an hour before rolling it out.

Filling

1-2 cups cold mashed pumpkin
2 eggs
¼ cup milk or dairy-free alternative (I use oat milk)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon savoury yeast flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 spring onions, chopped

Heat the oven to 200°C.
Whisk the eggs and milk together. Whisk in the pumpkin, then add all the other ingredients and mix.
Roll out the pastry and cut into 12 rounds, using a mug or cup. Grease the muffin tins with a little oil, then place a pastry round into each hole. Divide the filling between the rounds, being careful not to overflow. Any leftover filling can be used to make extra quiches with the leftover pastry. Cook for 30 minutes.

mini pumpkin quiches2

New Recipe Folder and Great-grandma Jozina’s Shortbread

If you love to cook and you’re anything like me, you probably have piles of recipes tucked away in a drawer, waiting to be tried out. I have manilla folders of recipes cut from magazines and scraps of paper with recipes scribbled down from television cooking shows. Often I’ll go to look for one and spend ages trying to find it. I had a recipe book in which I wrote my favourite recipes, but I filled it up a while ago. Recently, while browsing in a bookshop, I saw a lovely vintage-themed recipe folder that I couldn’t resist.

recipe folder

It has dividers that I can decorate with stickers and embellishments, lined pages for writing in, plain pages for pasting in handwritten recipes given to me by other people, and plastic sleeves for slipping in recipes saved from magazines. I also like that it’s a ring binder style so I can add more pages when I need to.

recipe folder

recipe folder 2

Now I just have to work my way through that big pile of recipes and put the ones that turn out nice into my lovely new recipe folder where I can find them easily.

The handwritten shortbread recipe was given to me by my mother, passed down from my great-grandmother, so the recipe has been around for quite some time. Nice to have with a cup of tea or coffee.

Great-grandma Jozina’s Shortbread

8 oz (225g) butter
4 oz (125g) icing sugar
13 oz (375g) plain flour
1 oz (25g) cornflour

Beat butter and icing sugar to a cream. Add flour and cornflour. Knead well.
Roll out to required thickness (¼ – ½ inch).
Cut into squares or fingers. Prick well with fork to stop rising.
Bake about 20 – 30 minutes at 160ºC (320ºF ) Be careful not to overcook underneath.
Cool on wire tray.

shortbread1

Garden Journal – June

Winter has brought us an interesting mix of weather this month with some rain and cloudy days, interspersed with chilly morning frosts followed by brilliant sunshine that just makes you want to get out in the garden and mingle with nature.

We made a little memorial garden for Cody next to the decking in our backyard, where we see it every time we go outside. We miss her terribly and still feel her presence everywhere. We planted winter flowers – pansies, primroses and dianthus, and I transplanted some forget-me-not seedlings to flower later. The little dog ornament looks so much like Cody!

Cody's Garden

Our wonderful friend, Erica, gave us a tin of  Yates heritage seeds to plant in our garden in memory of Cody. The seeds commemorate 130 years of Yates in New Zealand, and the tin comes with a little booklet telling the story of Arthur Yates, who emigrated to New Zealand from England in 1879. Following in his family’s tradition of seed merchants, he opened the first of his seed shops in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1883.

Inside the tin there are 10 varieties of heritage flower and vegetable seeds – pansies, sunflowers, tomatoes and carrots, to name a few. I can’t wait for spring to come so I can start planting them!

Yates seeds

Garden journal - June

It’s lovely to have herbs in the garden over winter to add to stews and soups, stuffings, breads and vegetable dishes. One of my favourite winter meals is soup and crusty bread. For this vegetable and lentil soup I used seasonal vegetables from one of our local market gardens and garnished it with parsley from our garden. For the herbed cheese bread I used organic goat’s cheese, and rosemary and sage from our garden. You can use whatever seasonal herbs you have in the garden. In the summer it would be nice with basil and oregano. Or if you don’t have herbs growing in the garden, it can just as easily be made with dried herbs.

Herbed Cheese Bread

3 teaspoons dried yeast
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cheese
½ cup chopped fresh herbs or 1 tablespoon dried herbs
2 tablespoons oil
1¼ cups warm water

To make by hand:
In a large bowl, mix together flour, yeast, sugar, salt, cheese and herbs. Make a well in the centre, then slowly add the oil and water, stirring to form a soft dough, and adding a little extra flour if necessary. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and and knead for 10 minutes until the dough forms a soft ball. Shape into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour. Knead the dough lightly in the bowl, then shape into a round loaf and place onto a greased baking tray. Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Preheat oven to 200º C. Dust bread with a little flour, cut criss crosses into the top, then bake for 30 minutes, covering top during cooking if it starts to burn.

Alternatively, the dough can be made in a breadmaker, then shaped into a round, placed on a baking tray and left to rise as above.

Herbed Cheese Bread

Vegetable and Lentil Soup

400g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
100g broccolli, cut into florets
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lentils
1 teaspoon curry powder
4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup milk or cream (or soya milk or oat milk)
parsley to garnish

Place first 7 ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes. Puree or blend. Add milk and seasoning to taste. Heat without boiling. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Gingerbread Cupcakes

In my novel, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, Jodi enjoys baking cupcakes to take along to the weekly scrapbooking classes at Wattle Lane Keepsakes. Here is another of the recipes that she makes for the women in the group to enjoy when they stop for a coffee break.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

125g softened butter or dairy-free spread
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (or soya milk or oat milk)
175g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.

Cream together butter, brown sugar and golden syrup. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sifted dry ingredients, then milk, and mix to combine. Divide mixture between paper cases. Bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let cool, then dust with icing sugar or ice with ginger frosting.

Ginger Frosting

50g softened butter or dairy-free spread
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons milk (or soya milk or oat milk)

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sifted icing sugar and ginger. Add milk and beat to spreadable consistency.

Gingerbread Cupcakes